The statement also indicated that the two sides would sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) to enable greater geo-spatial information-sharing.
Speaking to reporters after that meeting, a senior state department official said that “there’s no avoiding the fact that it’s China and its actions in the region that make the Quad actually matter and function this time around.”
The official said a “sudden turn toward gross aggression by the Chinese Government in its entire periphery” had alarmed Beijing’s regional neighbors, and pointed in particular to ongoing tensions between India and China over their shared border in the Himalayas.
Speaking in Delhi on Tuesday, Pompeo said that “there is much work to do” in the India-US relationship, from “our cooperation on the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom to promoting peace and stability throughout the region.”
In a statement ahead of the trip, he said the two sides would expand “cooperation between our two militaries. This includes our navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.”
The signing of the BECA agreement, as indicated in the joint statement from the defense chiefs, would likely give New Delhi access to US geo-spatial intelligence, potentially improving the accuracy of Indian weapons systems along the frontier.
That attempt at deescalation has not stopped Chinese state media continuing to rail against India, however.
“Border skirmishes with China may prompt India to draw closer to the US side so as to gain more leverage in its negotiations with China. But, blindly following the US’ lead will only push it closer to a head-on conflict with China, which would not be in its interests,” it added.
“Quad members need to realize that attempting to stir up rivalry in the region goes against the trend of the times and will definitely not be accepted by major countries worldwide,” Xinhua said. “Some countries’ attempts to advocate a Cold War mentality and create chaos in the region will only shoot themselves in the foot.”